JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – South Africa’s police minister defended officers on Monday after revellers at a weekend concert dedicated to Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg headlined by Beyonce endured chaos and robberies following the event.
Concert-goers had to wait several hours for transport to leave the nearly 95,000-capacity FNB stadium in Soweto Sunday and there were reports of several muggings and assaults.
Beyonce led an all-star line-up including Ed Sheeran, Jay-Z and Usher for the climax of a year of events celebrating the centennial of Mandela’s birth in 1918, and to raise money for charity.
“There is no need to blame South African police that there was no Uber, there was no transport and all that — that should be asked from the organisers,” said police minister Bheki Cele who called on victims of crime to come forward.
One man has been arrested in connection with incidents following the event, added Cele who spoke to journalists at an event in the southern city of Port Elizabeth.
Concert-goer and witness Catherine Constantinides, director of the Miss Earth SA programme, said “it was more than mugging and taking phones”.
“You prayed with your life not to be stabbed, punched or brutally attacked, all of which I witnessed,” she wrote on her verified Twitter account.
Fellow concert-goer Ano Shonhiwa, 23, told AFP “there was so much chaos when the concert ended and people wanted to leave”.
“I heard that several people were mugged while they were waiting for transport or to call a cab,” he said.
Global Citizen, which organised the event, said in a statement that “after such an inspiring evening, we are saddened to hear the challenges people had while leaving the venue”.
“We have been working to support people getting home safely,” it said.